- Expressing a Sense of Doom.
- Burnout and The People I Met At Work.
- Slate Star Codex and the Crisis of Scott Alexander
- Exploring Kierkegaard’s Teleological Suspension of the Ethical.
- I Feel Like I’ve Been So Horribly Neglectful.
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This is a weird post. I don’t want to argue about anything. I just want to say what’s on my mind. I’m hoping that some parts of my subjective experience will be universalizing. If I could make something out of my current difficulties that could be useful for someone else then that would make it … Continue reading Expressing a Sense of Doom.
Note: I want this post to land in a caring way, and not an angry way. But maybe angry needs people to care. I think it would be fair to say that I am currently in the deepest portion of the empathy burnout spectrum that I have previously here-to-fore inhabited. Maybe that’s why I’m considering … Continue reading Burnout and The People I Met At Work.
Recently, Scott Alexander, the psychiatrist-intellectual behind Slate Star Codex has decided to delete the entirety of the blog in reaction to an NYT reporter refusing to maintain his pseudonymy in an article written about the blog. I don’t really know how to articulate the magnitude of this loss. While it’s true that his work will … Continue reading Slate Star Codex and the Crisis of Scott Alexander
Note: While I intend this piece to be readable for those who haven’t also read Fear and Trembling, I suspect that this piece will be a lot more valuable to those who are interested in the text itself, which can be found in loads of places on the internet, but also at least here. A … Continue reading Exploring Kierkegaard’s Teleological Suspension of the Ethical.
I mean it! I have a place here and I’m lucky enough to have people to come read it every now and then. But I’ve done so little lately that now nobody is here. It’s not for no reason: I’m writing a book. I just sent off my last one. It’s a novel. I don’t … Continue reading I Feel Like I’ve Been So Horribly Neglectful.
I recently watched this fantastic 1969 film Hiroshima Mon Amour, directed by Alain Resnais and written by the exceptional Marguerite Duras. I’d also recommend the film to anyone who likes a classic, or who has an interest in things that are beautiful. I thought I might say a few things about it. Also, Hubert Dreyfus … Continue reading Thoughts on “Hiroshima, Mon Amour.”
I am deeply suspicious of any writer who thinks that writing about writing is the right way to go about it. This is a problem, because so many people think the right way to start writing is to feverishly scribble down the one lousy thing they were given to say in their lives, and then … Continue reading The Mythology of Making Words.
I recently read Mark Fisher’s fantastic Capitalist Realism. It’s a short book and all, but it was so engrossing I put it down in one sitting. Here are the notes I took on each chapter. This is intended to be a summary and mixed commentary. It’s a fantastic book, and I’d recommend anyone who is … Continue reading Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Summary and Notes.
I recently came across a podcast that approaches similar issues to those that I’m concerned about like the profit motive in mental health care, the encroaching influence of the psychopharmaceutical companies, the atomization of the individual, etc. I think it’s important to share it here, because I think it’s an important discussion to have. Note: … Continue reading Recommending “It’s Not All In Your Head.”
In this piece, I’ll recount the experience I’ve had with practicing contemplation or meditation, or whatever you want to call it, and the way it effected my personal and professional lives. Update (29/05/2020): It’s worth noting that I don’t take meditation very seriously these days. At the minute, I’m questioning a lot of things. That … Continue reading Some Ways Meditation Has Been Affective for Me.
I’m not sure when it will be sensible to end the measures we’re currently taking to kerb the spread of coronavirus. It is by a long-shot not my field. But I do think this is an opportunity for us to reconsider the course that society is currently taking. Some of my more climate conscious friends … Continue reading Status Consumption and the Costly Signalling Treamill.
I. Strong and Weak Representationalism Despite Western thought’s persistence to the effect, there are nevertheless reasons to doubt the idea that the mind comes in contact with the world through the mediation of a representation. For that matter, there are also good reasons to doubt the idea that the mind is in some way separate … Continue reading Against the Computer Model of the Mind: Can We Reduce All Properties to Quantities?
Last week, I wrote a post reflecting on the time I’ve had for reflection given all that’s going on in the world. In that post, I tried to make use of my time by reflecting on the progress this blog. I found I learned quite a lot by re-covering my work. Just the act of … Continue reading Healthy Self-Criticism, and a Confession.
So, in case you haven’t noticed, everything has stopped. It’s surreal. I can walk outside, and I live in the middle of a major European capital city, and I can see absolutely nobody on main street. We’re living in some pretty odd times. But I wouldn’t say these times were bad for all perspectives. Consider … Continue reading State of the Nos, and a Retrospective Review.
One time, I read this fascinating book titled ‘Metaphors We Live By‘ by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. It was recommended to me by a good buddy– who mostly guides my intellectual development by his whims, and who coincidentally suggested the title of this blog. The central thesis of this book is what I guess … Continue reading Etymologies, and the Basic Idea of Embodied Cognition.
This is going to be my last set of notes on Dreyfus’ lectures for two reasons. The first is that as I go, I’m becoming really vividly aware of how little of this I get, and the second is that I’m not convinced these pieces are going to be accessible enough to be worth putting … Continue reading Dreyfus on Heidegger No. 4 and 5; also, The Conclusion to This Series for The Moment.
In this post I’m going to cover what I took away from Dreyfus’ second and third lectures on Heidegger’s Being and Time. It’s worth noting that a lot of the material he covers in these lectures is prompted by questions from the audience, and so it gets a little bit circuitous. The following notes are … Continue reading Dreyfus on Heidegger No. 2 and 3; also, Schizophrenia and Addiction as Loss of Contact.
In my sort of quest to understand Heidegger, I’ve been looking for a suitable lecture series. The reason he’s such a live figure to me is that he figures substantially in Peterson’s lectures on personality, specifically in the borrowed notion that Human Being is an essentially purposive being: human being is oriented being for a … Continue reading Dreyfus on Heidegger No.1; also, Thoughts on Ecological Perception and Self-Image.
Why Heidegger Needs to Be Impossible to Understand, and Why it Might be Worth Calling Things The Wrong Name.
I. I’ve been spending the last few weeks working through Heidegger’s Being and Time. It’s fascinating, but also super difficult to understand. One of the reasons it’s so difficult to understand is that Heidegger insists on inventing specialist terminology. I really understand the motivation behind it, which is that language can often obfuscate the truth … Continue reading Why Heidegger Needs to Be Impossible to Understand, and Why it Might be Worth Calling Things The Wrong Name.
Previously, I’ve written about what happens when you don’t have anything to believe in, and how poverty can deteriorate into something much deeper and more torturous than just a a lack of money. But I think there’s also something to prompt the deterioration more than just not having enough money as such. I think purpose … Continue reading Live Optionality, and The Wealth that Matters.
I. Here are some ideas to play with: that culture affects thought through language; that culture can be impressed and enforced in relation to some incentives; that culture is incentivized to impress certain modes of thinking, speaking and being in order to reinforce its own position. These are all sort of standard moves if we’re … Continue reading Beware the Optimization-Effiency Constraint! Also: A Hope for Freedom.
It seems so unfair that the world could be organized in such a way that someone could take you away from the place you came from. It’s more unfair that this could be seen as the best option. I want to argue with that idea, but I don’t have the background to make a case … Continue reading For the People I’ve Known Without Parents.
Lately, I’ve been torturing myself with some questions about my own credibility. Who do I think I am, asking all these questions and writing all these answers as if I know? I suppose from my perspective, my experience backs up my effort and my conclusions. But as far as anyone else is concerned, I worry … Continue reading A Generalized Disclaimer: Why You Should or Shouldn’t Take Me Seriously.
The other day I was in an introductory training session for my new job. We were going over the procedures for administering psychiatric meds. One of the questions we were asked was: ‘What’s the difference between a medicine and a drug?’ I thought this was quite an interesting discussion. I’m sure plenty has been written … Continue reading Why We Actually Done Away With Witch-Doctors At All.
Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis agree on a very important point: that something appears means it must be. This is understood in terms of relevance. Or otherwise, I suppose your neurosis is best ignored, hm? To be is not different than to be relevant. It cannot go another way. There is no doubt. This was Descartes’ characteristic … Continue reading Eight Brief Remarks on Phenomena.
I. Sometimes, when you try and have a discussion with someone, you find that they’re a complete idiot and they aren’t understanding anything you say; that you have no common ground; and that talking to them is a waste of time. So now you just want to angrily masturbate so you can calm down. In … Continue reading In Favor of Empathetic Listening
There is a folk-philosophical position that I oppose with every fiber of my being. From my perspective, this position is guilty of complete ingratitude, utter small-mindedness, lack of imagination, absence of perspective, and furthermore it indicates a complete lack of personal technique. This position can be best summed up with the following phrase:“Life’s a Bitch, … Continue reading ‘Life’s a Bitch’: Is It?
Love is also important because of reasons that are non-biological. At least so far as we commonly understand biology to be like, squishy organ or neurological reasons involving things we don’t have control over, or impersonal processes like instinct. There is a dangerous instinct in educated people to reduce love to biological processes. I tended … Continue reading A Little Essay on Love: Having vs. Being
Just to let you all know, I’ve started compiling lectures/webites/books/etc that I find useful/beautiful/meaningful in a page just off to the side. I figured I’d make a post here to direct attention to it for anyone who uses an RSS feed, etc. I hope it’s useful for someone. Nos.
In previous pieces, drawing on the work of John Vervake and Ian McGilchrist, I’ve discussed the importance of reciprocal processing and participatory experience in enabling insight, wisdom, and implicitly, eudaimonic well being. For the most part, those pieces were theory-oriented. Now let’s talk about applying the theory in practice. These practices are not my own … Continue reading Writing Exercises for Self Inquiry.
Also on Medium. I. The Obverse of Mook Manor. It’s really easy to get down about the state of collective discourse on the internet. It’s easy to think that the only consequence of our increased inter-connection is an increased capacity to be ass-holes to each other. That’s true. I’m pretty sure the internet has a … Continue reading I For One Am a Pretty Big Fan of the Internet, Honestly. Or, How to Love Universally, Impersonally.
Also on Medium. In previous pieces ‘Statement of Purpose for The Modern Spiritual Seeker’ and ‘Critiquing the ‘All Incense’ Approach to Spirituality’, I started to build up an account of spirituality that requires practice, structure, and the willingness to radically discard structure in order to acquire wisdom. While this piece is intended to make sense … Continue reading Tango as Spiritual Practice: Bringing Together Heaven and Earth.
I. tawny brown skin,at no distance,a fluted neck, long enough to bear fruits from the head,bringing kind andobscure wisdom; lending grace,muse-like in obstinance,blank in perspective, but not pale white. II. bearing in mind at every juncturefist-shaped acorns: they brake the glass painof the portraits in the louvre. in the absence of a curtainto contain them,they … Continue reading Athenaic
In my last piece, A Statement of Purpose for The Modern Spiritual Seeker, I explored some neuropsychological concepts alongside some practical routes to experience of the religious; or at least some authentic experiences of the self. I promised a piece on ‘authentic writing’ and that is still definitely forthcoming. In the meantime, I’ve been getting … Continue reading Critiquing the ‘All Incense’ Approach to Spirituality: Where is the Law? Where is the Order?
Also on Medium. I. In his book The Master and his Emissary, Iain McGilchrist argues that Western society has been oscillating between periods where cognitive-behavioural tendencies associated with the activation of the intuitive-melancholic right hemisphere of the brain, and periods where society was ruled by the approach and methodology associated with the optimistic-rationalistic left hemisphere. … Continue reading Statement of Purpose for The Modern Spiritual Seeker: Where is the Spice? Where is the Zest?
I. I’ve never rough slept, though I’ve had plenty of friends who were rough sleeping at one point or another. For the most part, they were the types you would least expect to need to. Two of them were one time students at Cambridge. Sometimes I laugh a little bit internally whenever I hear anyone … Continue reading The Castle Without The King: On Domicide and Homelessness.
Let’s talk for a little bit about academia. Specifically, let’s talk about the academic apparatus surrounding Philosophy, and let’s talk about why it seems to have made the pursuit of Philosophy in an academic context into a complete waste of time at best, and at worst, a fantastic way to abuse yourself until you’re unable … Continue reading Perverse Incentives for Perverts: Why I’m Not So Sure About Academia Anymore.
Today, what I want to talk about is how to balance knowing that something is the case and knowing how it is to be something, in important practical ways. I also want to talk about the danger of not minding your knowing how it is. That way lives evil and madness, I suspect.
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine — a doctor — and she commented that cancer is when part of you forgets to die. I think it’s weird that this post has begun with a comment on death: I feel like most of my pieces get around to death at some point. When I opened … Continue reading The Lord Giveth, and the Lord Taketh Away: Why a Life Without Limits Probably Isn’t Alive.
Two characters, Fear and Laziness, sit on the beach after dusk. They pass a two litre bottle of beer in green glass, one to the other. Fear: You know the worst thing of all? Laziness: What? What’s the worst thing of all? Fear: It’s my absolute certainty that I’m going to die alone. I don’t … Continue reading A Chat with Two Vices.
What if ‘to be’ is to be without something? If I’m blue all over, I’m definitely not red. If I’m just me, then I’m not all the other things that could exist. What if to exist in particular is to lack the wholeness that comes with existing as everything all at once? If that was … Continue reading To Exist and to Want: Musings on the First Two Noble Truths.
Scene: Solitus and Communus are sitting in a diner, eating bacon pancakes. The pancakes contain bacon. Solitus: At this moment, what is the truest thing you know? Communus: That’s a weird way to start a conversation. Solitus: Just answer me anyway.
Expectancy bias is real, and it shapes your reality. This means in some sense that what you expect is what you get. When I was a kid, I used to stand on my head so I could see what the world looked like upside-down. To look at the world from that perspective transfigured it. My … Continue reading The World is a Dream, and All of it Comes for Free.